Enthusiasm Awakens: Spoilerless Impressions and Eager Ravings on Star Wars: Episode VII Enthusiasm Awakens: Spoilerless Impressions and Eager Ravings on Star Wars: Episode VII
Kyle tries his darndest to bring balance to the Supernaughts and give us his spoiler free feelings on Star Wars: Episode VII - The... Enthusiasm Awakens: Spoilerless Impressions and Eager Ravings on Star Wars: Episode VII

Generally, I dislike writing reviews. Movies and TV shows take a long time to settle in, for me, and by the time I feel really comfortable trusting my feelings and capable of expressing my thoughts, the review is no longer relevant. In the case of Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens, however, I was moved to write immediately, for several reasons. First and foremost, I want to provide a largely spoilerless review – something I’ve seen an oddly small number of. Second of all, I want to bring balance to our site. Things are just a little too negative in here for my tastes.

As I’ll be doing this on the fly, and avoiding spoilers wherever possible, this will admittedly be more about the feelings the film elicited within me than about the film itself. It’s not so much a traditional review as it is a stream of consciousness on what about the film captivated me so completely. Some small spoilers are inevitable, but I’ll avoid anything major. It’s also a lot rougher than I’d like, but I feel that in this case, time is of the essence! With no further delay, I present my thoughts and feelings on what is likely the most heavily anticipated film of all time.

The Force Awakens is a film about rebuilding. As I watched, I was struck again and again by that feeling of reconstruction. From the villainous First Order, rising from the ashes of the Empire, to Finn, rising from the wreckage of his own life, to Rey, living in the literal ruins of the wars of the past, every character and faction is seeking to make something old new again. The symbolism is obvious, of course, drawing parallels to the state of the franchise itself. The question asked again and again in the film, and answered in spades, is this: Can it be done? Can you take the ruins and build upon them? Can Star Wars live again, in the hearts of its fans? The answer is a resounding yes.

The plot and actions of many scenes closely or directly mirror much of the original trilogy, to varying degrees. More than that, the characters and their relationships echo as well. A Sith apprentice follows the guidance of a grim, malformed master. A pilot must lead a rebellion in war against a massive super-weapon capable of destruction of an unfathomable level. A young Jedi slowly discovers the power within, needing a master to help them bloom. The characters of the past return, and are afforded the honor they deserve. Han, Leia, Chewbacca and more all step forward for their moments in the spotlight, but know when it’s time to bow and step aside. The old is shown much love, and used as a template for the entire film.

Don’t, however, make the mistake of believing that reusing of the old is a negative thing. After all, George Lucas himself, when creating the original film, drew on many old stories to fill out his world. He even went so far as to use footage of dogfights from older films and wars, replicating them point for point for his own use. The entirety of Star Wars is a reconstruction of old genre favorites. He borrowed from Samurai films, war films, adventure films, and space operas liberally. What made the film work was that dash of imagination, that extra spark of new to bring it to life. That spark is alive and well in The Force Awakens.

The new characters aren’t simple 1:1 stand-ins for the old. They step into the old roles, but bring their own shoes rather than attempt to fill those of their predecessors. Finn is funny and engaging. He’s quick witted, open-hearted, and likable. Poe Dameron felt a little underdeveloped, but he quickly proved himself to be entertaining and fun to have around. Rey is a wonderful character. She’s tough as durasteel, and devoted to people who try and do the right thing, even in the face of her own pressing needs and desires. She shows a sweet side that Princess Leia never quite managed. Kylo Ren… boy oh boy, Kylo Ren.

Here is a villain the likes of which we have never seen before in Star Wars. He shows himself to be immensely powerful from his first appearance, wielding the Force in ways I’ve never seen. He’s threatening, he commands attention whenever he enters the room, and above all, he is INSANE. He’s wildly unstable, prone to fits of rage and extreme violence. His thoughts are as jagged and wild as the saber he wields in battle. For every inch of cold calculation displayed by Darth Vader, a yard of white hot rage is spewed by Ren. In the past, Vader was driven to the Dark Side of the Force by tragedy and loss. Though it’s true that he embraced it, he didn’t seek it out. He was seduced to it. While we don’t yet know his whole story, throughout the entire film, I got the impression that Ren was a wannabe. He was a person with genuine good inside him, who, instead of struggling with it, struggles to CRUSH it. He wants to be Darth Vader. He wants to be evil, a Dark Lord of the Sith, and he wants it so badly that he is making the conscious choice to do cruel things, to go against everything he knows to be right. He’s not misguided. He hasn’t been seduced. He wants to be something he isn’t, and it’s destroying him. His thought process is childish and profane, and it terrifies me.

Throughout all the films, I’ve wondered what was so bad about the Sith and the Dark Side of the Force. I see the Jedi’s way of crushing emotion and attachment as a bit extreme. I’ve seen people like the Emperor and Vader in shades of grey. After all, they did bring the galaxy peace, and Anakin’s fall was born of love. I’d ask myself, “What could be so bad about embracing your emotions?” The answer is finally shown to me in Kylo Ren. For the first time in the history of Star Wars, I was repulsed by the Dark Side.

The action in the film is truly wonderful. They took the very best of what the prequels had to offer in terms of action and special effects, and then dialed them back to fit more in line with the original trilogy. The dog fights and space battles were fun and engaging, but never so crowded that they became confused. The ground battles and use of lightsabers were well choreographed and acrobatic, but only to an extent. Gone was the overblown spectacle of Episode III, and gone was the stiff and robotic “old man vs robot” battle of Episode IV. What we had was a perfect balance between the two.

Episode VII is a film that knows exactly what role it needs to hold, and does it well. It takes the ruins of a franchise that is beloved the world over, and uses them to build a bridge between the past and future. It shows us that with a little ingenuity and a lot of trust, what we love can be preserved while being used as the foundation for something new. It’s a love letter to the original trilogy, a grudging acknowledgement of the elements of the prequels that did work, and among it all you can see the beginnings of something wonderful. The charm was back. The fantasy was back. Star Wars is back.

This film does one thing above all else, for me. It gives me hope that the Force will be with us. Always.

Author Image

Kyle Fulton

  • You’re a solid writer and should do this more often.

  • Kyle Fulton

    Thank you, Puck, I appreciate that.

  • I’m with you on a lot of this, even if I’m not as positive towards the movie. Like I said in the other topic, I did enjoy it and had a great time. It’s just afterwards when I step back and think about things, that’s where it starts to fall apart. That’s why I generally never review a film if I’ve only seen it in theatre. It’s way too easy for me to enjoy a film in that setting.

    I’ll definitely need to watch it again, at home, before a final verdict on overall quality can be made from my end. I went with average to poor as a Star Wars film in last night’s appraisal, but I’m constantly changing my mind on different things. Like I was OK with certain aspects at first, but now I’m starting to dislike those more, while at the same time a few originally annoying aspects I now consider fine or even good in context.

  • Well, I obviously don’t agree and I cannot see what you saw in this movie, but it’s a very well done review!

  • Kyle Fulton

    Hahaha thank you very much!

  • Kyle Fulton

    That’s exactly why I usually take my time, too. In this case, though, I’m very confident that my feelings won’t change all that much, so I went ahead.

  • I’ll probably wait a few days and then do a list like “what works, what doesn’t” type of article instead of a normal review. I’d like to address very specific things, obvious spoiler heavy things about the movie that I either liked, disliked, or I’m unsure what to think.

  • I_am_better

    Very good, Kyle. You said a LOT of things I was gonna say.

  • I’ll help you if you don’t know what to think.

  • It’s mostly stuff where I may have missed a point or some explanation as to why something happened or whatever.

  • Kyle Fulton

    I’m glad we agree!

  • CoolHandJuke

    should call it Prologue to More Interesting Shit: The Movie. meh from me…

  • encapsulate

    I have been hearing a lot of good word of mouth about this movie.

  • encapsulate

    so a mystery box deal?

  • CoolHandJuke

    it’s like they went out of their way to hint at better stories than what they showed…

  • encapsulate

    people it’s “lightsaber” not “light saber”

  • encapsulate

    haha

  • CoolHandJuke

    also, who the fuck was Max Von Sydow playing? he said it would be someone only diehards would know, but i have no idea how they plan on us figuring it out who he is other than some b.s. line about “royalty” i should have stayed home and jerked off to bbw porn like i planned…

  • encapsulate

    How did ILM do?

  • Kyle Fulton

    I think it auto-corrected that on me. I’m not usually one to write them as separate words.

  • Rose-Rey

    Nice write up! I loved all the newbies too and I adored BB-8. Bring on Episode VIII.

  • CoolHandJuke

    industrial light and magic? about what’d you expect…

  • corrected it

  • You don’t know how many people misspelled Wookiee in the last week

  • Kyle Fulton

    Thanks!

  • KilliK

    of course you did.

  • KilliK

    and I have been hearing a lot of bad word of mouth about this movie.

  • Dennis O’Keefe

    All of your misanthropy will not prevent you from being moved by this film.

  • Conspiracyin559

    Hint of Spoilery talk here…

    I liked it plenty…and I’m a guy who saw Star Wars 25+ times as a kid in 77. Some rehashing..sure; but new characters are engaging, the parts well acted (Daisy Ridley is fantastic), and they stop the fan service just when it is becoming annoying.

    Clunky dialog is there to be sure….was expecting better in that department.

    But Kylo Ren…that fucker is reason enough to watch it…thats one fucked up character…is the fucker redeemable at all? People in my audience positively hated the motherfucker by the end of the flick…and thats a great thing.

    Most importantly…it makes me wanna know what happens next, seriously…what the fuck now? “Good” People are already flirting with the darkside by the end of this…and now what ya gonna do ya conflicted bearded bitch?

    Empire, Star Wars, Tie between Jedi and TFA, 3, 1, 2 thats how I’m feeling right now

  • So… we have published here two very different opinions about the movie: a very positive and a very negative, the dark side… and the light.

  • It’s my experience that today the geeks always over-state the importance and their liking of a movie, this kind of entertainment only type movie, right when they are released. It is such a recurring habit it has became a tradition. Everything is the biggest thing ever when on release. Remember when Pacific Rim was this generation’s Star Wars? It’s always the same thing today. Hard to take any positive opinions seriously this days.

  • Yes, bring on Episode 8, since it will be written and directed by Rian Johnson, a far more talented writer and director than Jeffrey.

  • Mine keeps auto-correcting to “sabre”.

  • KilliK

    it’s nostalgia and enthusiasm that is doing the talking right now. give it some time for reality to set in, and fans will start to realize how shitty this movie actually is. remember Nu Trek? history is repeating itself.

  • KilliK

    only that the dark side is right this time.

  • The very positive opinion?

  • Coupon: The Movie

    I still have no interest in seeing this movie but this is a great review. Well done and I appreciate the attempt to “balance” the site reviews. I had an idea to write a review of this a year from now when I finally borrow the Blu Ray from someone. I think it will be an interesting experiment to finally see it a year out from the hype whether negative or positive. I find this is the best way to first view a movie like this and walk away with the most honest opinion.

  • Scopedog

    …As in the case with all movies, Asi. 🙂

    Me? I liked it a lot. Not perfect–it had its good and not so good points–but it worked well for me.

  • Scopedog

    It was a great review, Kyle. I liked the film too–but I plan to see it a second time.

  • Captain Genius

    i didn’t hate it. daisy ridley is very lovely. i see it again tomorrow with a friend.

  • KilliK

    the negative

  • Toruk_Makto

    This has some spoilers in it.

    From what I’ve seen so far this is a film you can’t go five minutes without stumbling across a spectacularly bad element.

  • Is your friend a hot cool girl? It’s the only reason i would had to watch again a movie that i just didn’t hate.

  • I’m eager that there is all kind of opinions here about movies, ans in this case, this movie. Also, for personalized opinions. Especially the latter, as from what i have read online, all the positive review and opinions of this movie all seem like copy and paste jobs, they all read exactly the same. I’m eager for more diversity.

  • Thanks.
    Still, what a lovely lass is Daisy Ridley.

    “We have taken on faith that this movies will explain everything, and that’s not good enough.”

    I couldn’t agree more. We don’t owe movies our faith, they have to earn our trust, i say.

    Since Rian is a much better writer than JJ (and aparently Kasdan too), and since he’s not shy to put his lead characters through the ringer, maybe in Ep8 Rey will get put through the hurt when the stakes rise higher and things get tougher.

  • I think it’s all interesting about the hype. The exaggerated melodramatic reactions of now when the movie is just release and later when things have cooled down and the dust settled and to compared. It’s all fun. It’s a veritable circus. I’m quite convinced that the reactions are far more fun to watch than the movie proper will be.

  • Toruk_Makto

    I only have room for one shitty movie series to get a pass from me because I adore the female star…and that’s resident evil.
    mmm Milla…
    Anyway, this movie…no way. It looks like this shit-pile will provide material to dissect and laugh at for many years to come.

  • Stalkeye

    I got this text from a good friend of mine the other day. Talk about “endorsement”!

  • Kyle Fulton

    Thank you so much! I appreciate it. I really like your review idea, and I look forward to reading it!

  • Kyle Fulton

    Hahaha yes, exactly. I thought it would be super fun to do exactly that.

  • Captain Genius

    sadly no. sometimes it’s just nice to get out of the house

  • Yes, that’s true. I would still rate a night at the pub to be a better alternative to a weak movie.

  • Oh yeah, no doubt about it. Diversity is great.

  • I miss the days when Milla had her long hair to her waist. I miss that Milla. She’s still great, but man, i do miss her like that.
    I don’t know if this new SW movie is going to get discussed much. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows? It sure will be interesting to see what the opinions of this movie will be like one year from now, or when Ep8 arrives.

    One thing i’ll tell you for certain: people will not be has forgiving of the problems in Ep8 as they are/were with Ep7. Rian Johnson will not get it as easy as Jeffrey.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Have you seen Episode 7 yet?

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Have you seen the film? If you have, then you are just hating to hate.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Nice review, and I agree with you. Loved it

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Go see the film. Unless you are just a jaded old man, you will find yourself enjoying it.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    But this is not a weak film

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    From who? Your negative Nelly friends? They don’t count

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Nice article, and I agree with your take. I really enjoyed the film, and thought everyone involved did a great job. Some on this site have hated on this film years before it was even released, so the fact they don’t like it, means nothing. If you are a Star Wars fan, and apparently most of the world is, you will enjoy it. I did, and will not apologize for it! Believe That!

  • Captain Genius

    liquor is useless

  • franks_television

    It was great! I can’t believe they actually pulled it off.

  • Unless ingested.

  • The jury – me – is still out.

  • I am a jaded old man and proud of it. I’m also fair. Which means when i see shit, it gets a royal shellacking from me, as it should. Fair doesn’t mean gushing over everything, fair means fair.

  • From where?

  • There has been as many who have liked this movie years before it was even released, just saying.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Not true. There were.those looking forward to it, but no one praised it like some have hated on it before it was released. Just sayin

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    But u wont be “fair”, u have already made up ur mind a long time ago…..fact

  • Scopedog

    Such is life!

  • Scopedog

    Believe me, my view of the film is no copy-paste job. I liked it, but I do acknowledge that it had flaws–like all films do. But the flaws did not spoil the film for me.

    If people do not like the film, that’s fine. If they choose to use their dislike of the film to beat others about the head with it (and the same applies to those who did like it), then that’s a d**k move as far as I’m concerned.

    Was there a lot of hype for this film? Yes. Did I ignore it? Yes. Does that make me special? Hell f@#!ing no. I went in, saw it, loved it, and hope to see it again.

    Just my 2-cents…

  • Scopedog

    ….Only that’s just your opinion…:)

  • Scopedog

    That’s weird…never happened to me yet. Wonder why it would do that?

  • Kyle Fulton

    I have to say I agree. I was excited, but I was always prepared for it to be not very good. I know I said a few times, I’d be happy with a movie as decent as the prequels, because at least they had good action. That would have been enough for me. I was really cautious going in.

  • Kyle Fulton

    Trust me, Asi, it’s not as bad as some would have you believe. Obviously I absolutely loved it, but I can see some of the complaints being valid. Like any movie, it has its flaws. However, I can genuinely say I don’t understand the sheer amount of vitriol some people have shown it.

  • Kyle Fulton

    Because sabre is how it’s spelled in England.

  • I watched it today.

  • I often times set my to british english, which is my favorite version of english.

  • I watched it today.

  • Life sucks.

  • Say that to the people who loved the movie.

  • You have deliberately looked away? You have to if you think there is no love for this move even before it was released. Oh yeah.

  • I watched the movie today.

  • Kyle Fulton

    Well?

  • Well?

  • After watching the movie, i genuinely don’t understand the sheer amount of love some people have shown it.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Cool man. Keep writing.

  • Jack Randomm

    Love? No. Hope? Absolutely. If you can look beyond your obvious contempt for Star Wars fans, you might remember the prequel trilogy, and how the memory still burns.

    Look at reviews of eps One and Two and tell me Star Wars fans aren’t capable of honest criticism. Your comment is disingenuous and beneath you.

  • I’m done with SW after TFA and i have the fans to thank that for.

  • Jack Randomm

    You’re welcome!

  • I’d rather it didn’t happened.
    This movie is like Crystal Skull or the Abrams Trek, movies that mock the legacy and yet were very well received when released out of a sense of nostalgia.
    But i should let all this to be said in my review to come.

  • Kyle Fulton

    You seriously remember Crystal Skull and Abrams Trek being well received? Because… jesus, man, that just isn’t true. They did fine with critics, but the fanbase has never, ever stopped ripping them to shreds. Not from minute one.

  • And here we are again.

  • They were EXTREMELY well received by a huge chunk of the fandom, more than half of it, really. The disappointed were vocal, but they were not a majority. Time did abated the initial positive opinion of some of those, fortunately. But to say the majority had negative opinions is to retcon what went back then. Sadly this happened this way.

  • Kylo Ronin

    Hmm. I don’t think I could have said it any better myself.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Chewie…we’re home.

  • Toruk_Makto

    Where the hell is your review!!??

  • A bit on the back-burner, i’m afraid, due to family issues.